Hi and welcome to the reading world!
Today I’m going to be reviewing Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton.
Next Year in Havana follows dual timelines of Elisa, a young Cuban woman whose wealthy family is living in Havana in the 1950s, and decades later her granddaughter Marisol, a young journalist who returns to Havana to honor her recently deceased grandmother. Along the way, both must deal with themes of conflict, home, place, family, love, and loss.
To me, the familial bonds and connections between the grandmother and granddaughter across the years was the most compelling part of this book. It’s clear that both are at times dealing with grief, loss, love, and fear over a tumultuous time for their families and loved ones. Next Year in Havana focuses heavily on family, and this is definitely one of its strengths.
In terms of plot, there is a lot of tension and intrigue throughout both timelines. The uncertainty Elisa and Marisol both face at times kept the story having unexpected twists, although at times this made it difficult to discern where the plot was going. Additionally, there is a strong romance plotline to both stories that to me felt a little instantaneous and didn’t get enough time to develop, but did tie into those themes emphasized throughout the novel of love, loss, family, home, and place.
Overall, Next Year in Havana is a story that I found enjoyable, intriguing, and had some especially compelling themes of family across time. It’s got some unique and memorable lead characters, and some themes that connected across the threads of both women’s stories and times. While I sometimes struggled with the romantic storylines and some sudden plot changes that felt rushed, the story was good overall and a good number of the plot twists were compelling and unexpected.
I haven’t yet decided if I’ll continue on with the series or not, since historical fiction isn’t a genre I typically read a lot of, so I would love to know your thoughts on the series in the comments!
Have you read Next Year in Havana?
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